Saturday, March 26, 2016


Here in the Midwest it sleeted huge snowflakes this past week. While we didn't have measurable snowfall, we certainly had some snow. I've lived here my whole life, so March snow is to be expected, April snow isn't surprising, and May snow, while uncommon, does happen. Many regional folk have a love/hate relationship with snow. The first season's snowfall is usually met with delight (as long as it's at least November), a White Christmas is preferred, and by mid-January, shoveling and becomes tiresome. I've never had a really strong opinion about the snow. It is simply really cold solid water. It happens. It's not my favorite to drive in and I definitely prefer 70 degrees and sunny, but I don't routinely long for a different climate.

February 1st, 2015, Chicago was gifted with a blizzard. It was also Super Bowl Sunday. I remember this day vividly. My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day was behind me. I had already pulled out my own NG tube (for the 2nd time). I still felt like hell, but I wanted desperately to go home. The only visitor I had all day was from my surgeon that snowy morning. By the time the Super Bowl started, blizzard status had been achieved and the surgical telemetry unit on the 7th floor was a very quiet place. I stood at the wall-sized windows of the waiting/visiting area and stared at the seemingly tiny snow-covered cars below in the parking lot of Lutheran General Hospital. The roads were blanketed in snow. Travel would have been difficult at best. My interest in the Super Bowl was close to zero, but to feel some human connection (most people I know were home watching the Super Bowl) I turned the waiting room TV to the game. I was alone in the large room. Being at a hospital during a blizzard is BORING. It's always boring, but when you are able to walk around and eat yogurt and lemon ice, boredom levels shoot through the roof. This was my thirteenth day in the hospital. Eleven of the prior twelve days had been downright miserable, but as I was beginning to feel more human my impatience, loneliness, and boredom grew. 

I did go home two days later, which was amazing. While there were nights shortly after arriving home I felt so terrible and scared I almost wanted to be back in the hospital under the watchful care of nurses, I am grateful everyday to be healthy, free from pain, and at home. 

As the snow fell this past week, I was reminded of my time longingly staring outside at the snow out of the 7th floor hospital window. It so happens I was picking up my children from daycare during the brief snowfall, which is very nearly the opposite of hospital lonesomeness. I am thankful for each new season and even springtime snows, for early in this journey I wasn't sure if my life was going to be cut short by my pancreatic tumor. Over a year has passed since my surgery, and I'm grateful to simply be. I've appreciatively watched my children grow, learn, and change for another year. I marvel at the change of the season and note the significance that I'm still here. I might even say my indifference towards snow has turned to awe, as the significance of yet another season for snow means I'm around to see it. I still prefer 70 and sunny, but I will welcome the snows of winter (and spring!) each new year. 

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